News & Resources JSAP Cybercrime Unit Solves Cases

JSAP Cybercrime Unit Solves Cases

May 2017

Police Cybercrime Unit Supported by Tetra Tech’s Justice Sector Assistance Project Solves Several High-Profile Cases

Tetra Tech’s Justice Sector Assistance Project (JSAP), funded by the US State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), has been providing material and technical support to strengthen the capacities of the Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) Cybercrime Unit. Owing to this support, the unit has seen increasing success solving complex criminal cases involving electronic evidence.  

The PCP established the Cybercrime Unit in 2013 and tasked it with processing and analyzing crime scenes that contain electronic and digital evidence. Tetra Tech’s support has included providing “first response” training, developing standard operating procedures, providing data-recovery software and training PCP staff on its use, and training prosecutors and judges on the use of digital evidence in criminal cases. In addition, Tetra Tech equipped the unit with forensic software, computers, and office furnishings.

The Head of the Cybercrime Unit, Lt. Col. Samer Hindi, credited INL and JSAP with providing strong support to the unit which has recently solved several high-profile investigations. He noted that when the unit was first established he did not have a clear vision of its role, but by the end of last year, the unit had proven its value by examining electronic evidence in 196 cases. “Now we are processing evidence from juvenile, narcotics, and other cases,” he said. “We are proud that we are offering something helpful.”

Lt. Col. Hindi cited a recent instance where the stronger Cybercrime Unit successfully solved a crime. Thieves broke into an Arab Bank branch in Bir Nabala on February 3, 2017 and stole approximately 500,000 NIS ($130,000) from an ATM. During the commission of the crime, the thieves destroyed the surveillance cameras and damaged the ATM’s internal chip which can self-dial for help. The thieves also removed computer routers and a digital video recorder containing the bank’s surveillance videos. A few days later, the equipment was found by a citizen who turned over the damaged devices to the police. Despite the electronics being damaged, using forensic examination the Cybercrime Unit’s computer analysis response team was able to recover surveillance video showing three masked males breaking into the bank. A police officer was later able to identify one of the suspects who after interrogation admitted to his involvement, implicating the two others and turning over the stolen money to the police.

As a next step in its capacity building activities, Tetra Tech is developing training programs to continue strengthening the Cybercrime Unit of the PCP as well as the Cybercrime Unit of the Attorney General’s Office.